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Trunching and Brunching at Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon

Posted: Monday, 08 August 2016 11:20

 

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Trunching and Brunching at Hotel Oberoi Gurgaon

Aug 08: Champagne- loving foodies in Delhi-NCR would not find a better offer than the unlimited 10-champagne Sunday Brunch at the Threesixtyone° Restaurant in The Oberoi Gurgaon but for still- wine lovers and novices who wish to become reasonable wine experts in 4 hours, Trunch on Saturday at Rs. 3750++ with unlimited labels and wine is an unbeatable opportunity, writes Subhash Arora who feels that Oberoi Gurgaon is very progressive in its wine inclusive F & B schemes

Click For Large ViewThe wines are neither listed in a separate Menu, nor are they displayed but all you need to do is request for the roaming Sommelier Rakesh Awaghade to come to your table and guide you to taste or drink after ascertaining your preference. There are an adequate number of labels out of which you might take his recommendation for the Top Ten, including Mud House Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from New Zealand. I strongly recommend ordering 60 mL sized drinks so you can taste and drink 10 wines with an intake of 600 mL, to be followed by the repeat of what you like the best, though you could go for more labels instead.

Rakesh has curated the wines very smartly. He says he has not included any sparkling wines in the wine list for Saturday Trunch so it does clash with the Sunday Brunch which focuses on bubblies with 10 champagnes that include practically every label available easily in the market. However, he should perhaps include a sparkling wine and a Rose variant for those who love a bubbly with their meals, considering the restaurant does serve a few still wines with their Sunday Champagne Brunch.

The Menu is as elaborate as the Brunch. In fact, the thematic Menu every Sunday is carried over to the following Saturday Trunch, says Mallika Gowda, Manager Communication of the Oberoi Gurgaon. Naturally only the Menu is used 6 days later-not left-overs; food is fresh and the 5 gourmet stations are busy dishing out Sushi, Indian, Oriental, Chinese, Coastal and a variety of other cuisines depending upon the theme of the day). ‘People in Gurgaon are mostly professionals who have Saturdays off and like to laze around. After the leisurely lunch with unlimited wines, they may not want to rush back immediately so they can relax and enjoy High Tea served within Threesixtyone° and included in the Trunch,’ Gowda explains.

When the weather is nice, one can even sit outside on the deck by the beautiful water body. All this for Rs. 3750+ taxes-slightly less than Rs. 4500 AI, is a steal for a luxurious afternoon. But wine novices and lovers can have more productive time-drinking and leaning about wine during the 4 hours window at the restaurant, asking as many questions as they like-even if it is the difference between red and white wine you want to know or the characteristics of a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc vs. the hot weather moniker. One can even ask his suggestion on which food would go best with the wine one chooses and why- a free lesson on food and wine pairing.

Most people order only 3-4 wines and drink a glass or two of each, says Rakesh who stresses that he suggests people to try off-the-beaten-track wines and oft unheard of labels. Of course, the final choice is with the customer-including the option of ordering sans alcohol beverages. All wines are imported, making it a difficult offer to beat. As a supporter of Indian wines also, I would have liked to see a couple of premium quality Indian wines. Not only would it be more attractive to an ex-pat, it would also give a chance to a wine novice to understand and compare the wines and help make his own assessment. It might even help open the eyes of some snobs who refuse to sniff a wine if it is Indian.

It would be unfair to non-wine drinkers if I didn’t mention that in addition to the Sommelier’s Selection of wines, unlimited amount of cocktails, Margarita, Daiquiri, Martini and Beer etc are also available within the same price. The non-alcoholic option would save you around Rs. 1000 at Rs. 2950+ (around Rs. 3500 AI) but would not be unique and as strongly recommendable though you do get the 4- hour slot to enjoy a gourmet meal, ending up with High-Tea where you may get the Chef to cook something special for you, if you don’t like the scones, sandwiches, pakoras or other tit-bits that are laid out. About 40% of the guests order without alcoholic beverages and enjoy the Saturday Trunch, a unique offering from Oberoi Gurgaon, thanks to an enthusiastic Sommelier who is constantly innovating and motivating customers to taste wines and is willing to select different wines every Saturday, making it an experience worth the repeats- if one were to have a Trunch followed by the Brunch next day, it would be a different experience (which I would not advise though; breaking the rules of moderation two days in a row should be sacrilegious to a connoisseur).

Wine Tastings Galore

Another unique feature at Oberoi continues to be wine tasting with the Sommelier in the Cellar where 4 days a week you can taste a range of wines with Rakesh, accompanied by cheese etc. He selects the wines depending on the tasters’ preference-in an informal style. The Tastings are on a pre- appointment basis. I have often wondered how they handle the Friday evening tastings which are complimentary. Apparently, they work on the premise that after the comp tastings some of the 8-10 tasters will stay for dinner, after receiving a value of Rs. 1500++ for nothing.

Wines at Patisserie

Perhaps the best value for money in the whole of Delhi NCR region is the sale of 10 whites and 10 reds at Rs. 345 per glass AI (150 mL) in the Oberoi Patisserie. It sells a glass of wine cheaper than a cup of coffee-something we only dream of in our wine writings. This offer has been going on at least over a year since I have been monitoring and even reported in delWine last July, although there seemed to have been waning interest in the promotion a few months earlier. Labels are changed frequently to keep stock position in mind and the velocity of their movement. There are always some excellent values available from the all- imported wine portfolio. Incidentally, the left-over wine in the purchased bottle can be taken home.

What is even more interesting is that they have now added a range of sparkling wines including mostly champagnes at extremely attractive prices-in many cases, even cheaper than the Retail. Imagine a bottle (the prices are by-the-glass, of course) of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and 5 other champagnes including the  Mote e Chandon ICE champagne at Rs. 4500 a bottle-tax  at 21.5% included! (Rs. 895 a glass)  Or the Rose Brut from Drappier and Moet Chandon at Rs. 5,000 a bottle AI! (Rs. 995 a glass) Next time, check out the prices of the comparable bubblies at any restaurant, including Oberoi Gurgaon –or any retail shop and you would know why I am seriously impressed.

There is a rider, though. Patisserie closes at 6 pm and you may not bring a purchased bottle to consume in any of the restaurants. A fair deal, I must concede but it does restrict the drinking hours.

Wine Festival in October

Click For Large ViewAnother special wine event is scheduled for October 14, 15 and 16 when there will be over 10 foreign producers represented by Brindco, bringing in around 100 wines with the winemakers and showcasing their wines, with food from those countries/regions dished out from the respective adjoining booths. Oberoi Gurgaon will get chefs from the other properties to make it a never-before-gastronomic experience. The prices and other details are being worked out. But it might be prudent to pencil in the dates for the gourmet extravaganza. The event brings memories of the International Vine and Food Experience in Delhi on March 25-26 this year at the Taj Mansingh and reported in delWine.

Despite the dynamism and enthusiasm of Sommelier Rakesh, all these programs would not take off but for the active support of the charismatic, young and wine-centric President Kapil Chopra. While most people still think of him as the young General Manager that he was ‘just a couple of years ago’, he continues to take keen personal interest in the wine programmes and each and every wine List or new programmes go through his watchful eyes. In fact the wine festival in October is supposedly his brainchild; he wanted to do something dramatic rather than one off or flash in the pan types of programmes.

In a bottom-line oriented, Finance controlled F & B where 18-20% beverage costs (20% means wine is priced at 5 times the cost) is the norm-and Oberoi Gurgaon may not be an exception, the special programmes to promote wine or increase the footfall to the restaurants through such wine initiatives, is a win-win situation for both the hotel and the wine lovers and aficionados or novices ought to take advantage of them whenever they are offered.

Subhash Arora

We do not drive any benefits-pecuniary or otherwise from reporting such promotions which are very beneficial to the wine consumers. If any hotel or restaurant, offers such persistent wine promoting schemes (weekly or other specials to attract the customer in the near term are excluded), please write to us at info@indianwineacademy.com and we shall be glad to check them out and consider reporting to boost the wine culture- editor

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